It’s likely there will be plenty of people in this country who don’t like the fact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau politically sidestepped any public criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban when asked about it in Washington Monday, following the first official meeting between the two leaders.
But, by saying Canadians don’t expect him to go to a foreign country and tell its leader how to run his or her country, Trudeau may have said the right thing politically, but he may not be totally correct. There are plenty of Canadians who expected him to do just that.
Reaction to Trump’s travel ban—temporarily barring people people from seven mostly Muslim countries from travelling to and entering the U.S.— has many around the world, including here in Canada, outraged. Protests have taken place in many countries and in the U.S., and there, a court challenge has now suspended the ban.
But anger over Trump’s attempt to keep people out of the U.S. based on what appears to be religion and place of birth—as well as temporarily suspending allowing refugees to enter the U.S.—has not subsided despite the suspension of the ban.
And many are looking to other international leaders, like Trudeau, to tell Trump he is wrong.
Canada has been held up as a type of “anti-U.S.” because of its attitude towards refugees fleeing war-torn Syria. While the U.S.—and other countries to be be fair— have slammed the door on refugees, Canada has continued to roll out the welcome mat.
It’s the humanitarian thing to do.
Trudeau has come in for a lot of criticism lately for breaking election promises. Much of it is well-deserved given his comments and assurances on the campaign trail in 2015.
But foreign leaders raising uncomfortable issues about domestic policy when visiting another country is nothing new. And if anyone should know that, it’s the United States. Using its economic and military power over the years, it has pushed many countries to re-craft their domestic policies to suit the desires of Uncle Sam.
Sure, Trudeau may have risked raising the ire of Trump by saying something, and he may even have found himself on Trump’s list of subjects targeted with late night/early morning insulting Tweets. But there is the right thing to do and the politically right thing to do, and in this case, the right thing should have, er, trumped politics.
Despite the new U.S. leader cloaking it in the need to make America great again, what Trump is doing is wrong.
There are plenty of good ways people entering the U.S. can be—and are being—vetted. Bans that cover select countries and slamming the door to bona fide refugees are not good ways.
And Trudeau should have told Trump that.
Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.